The word diva lost its definition somewhere along the way, but Broadway actress and bona-fide diva Lillias White tells TV Guide Online what it takes to earn the title: "Hard work! Long, hard work. I don't believe you can be a diva at 19 or 20. That's absurd!"

White won an Emmy during her four-year stint on Sesame Street but is best known for her stage roles, particularly in The Life, for which she won a Tony Award for playing a hooker. She just finished a run of her one-woman show, From Brooklyn to Broadway, at a posh Manhattan cabaret (Liza Minnelli celebrated her birthday seeing White!) and is featured as a citizen of Whoville in Ron Howard's upcoming flick The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Did the star of Dreamgirls, Cats and Barnum enjoy clowning with star Jim Carrey? "He was a doll. I think he's one of the nicest people I've met in this business. Some people, they make a lot of money and then they kind of give you their a-- to kiss, but he was wonderful."

White is hoping the film's producers will ask her to sing a solo on the soundtrack (music by Titanic's James Horner) and is itching to get back in front of the camera. Other projects have kept her occupied, though. "I'm a single parent. I've been concentrating on getting my kids raised. I couldn't up and leave New York for Hollywood. I've been going from Broadway show to Broadway show and having a wonderful time at it. It's how I've survived in this business."